E-commerce is the Otto Group's strongest sales channel and one of its key future drivers. The catalyst behind this has been innovation: new communications tools and business ideas have been the powerhouse behind the rapid change in communication and shopping behaviour. The Otto Group is the world's largest online retailer of fashion and lifestyle products, and, today, significantly more than 50 per cent of all revenues in the Multichannel Retail segment is achieved online.
The Group has based its e-commerce strategy on three major pillars.
The first of these pillars comprises the Group's multichannel brands - these include OTTO, Bonprix, SportScheck, Witt, and Crate and Barrel. Here, the Otto Group particularly highlights its some 60 independent online shops - supported as they are by additional catalogue and over-the-counter sales channels. This has led to the development of the Group's concept of everywhere-commerce, i.e. Group companies intensely follow technical developments in mobile shopping, providing pages optimised for smartphones and webpads. This allows them to respond quickly and flexibly to customers' changing shopping behaviour with services, products and information coordinated for different end devices. But that's not all. Issues such as augmented reality applications and location-based services are playing an ever-increasing role. The ultimate goal is to be there wherever and whenever customers call and to offer them a truly exceptional shopping experience.
The second pillar of the Group's e-commerce strategy lies in establishing and developing pure plays - companies that solely operate online; companies such as smatch.com, Mirapodo or Limango. Online pure plays enable the Otto Group not only to constantly enhance its prowess in core competencies of e-commerce, but also to exploit these to boost the standing of existing multichannel brands. The case of myToys.de is a fine example of how expertise can be transferred in both directions. Originally founded as an online pure play, in the meantime the company also operates a successful over-the-counter retail business.
Finally, the Otto Group has been highly successful in the fields of venture capital business and incubation. The Otto Group investment company e.ventures scans the globe for astute entrepreneurs on the e-commerce market, investing in up-and-coming start-ups in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Project A Ventures, a start-up incubator in which the Otto Group is major stakeholder, is also on the look-out for talented company founders with prospects. Pursuing these lines, the Group is hoping to gain early access to ideas, highly-promising online business models and qualified entrepreneurial talent in the fields of business and technology. What's more, ongoing activities within the Otto Group also make headway as part of this exchange.